What The Olympic Games Mean For The London Economy

For athletes and their supporters, the Olympic Games are all about gold, silver and bronze – but for businesses in the host country, it’s green that really counts. This year, the London economy has certainly felt the impact of the 2012 Olympics; it’s a little too early to gauge the full extent of the Olympic effect, but researchers are already gathering valuable economic information from London-based companies.


Four out of ten London businesses have reported a significant increase in demand for their goods and services during the Olympics. The sector to benefit the most thus far has been that of consumer businesses, such as restaurants and theatres. The retail sector seems to have scooped the silver medal for the London economy, with roughly two-thirds of retail chains reporting they had benefited from Olympic tourism.


Naturally, an event like the Olympic Games also provides the host nation with a golden opportunity to woo investors. The UK Government invested approximately £9.3 billion in the 2012 Olympics, and it is hoped that hosting the spectacular event will attract investors from the East. Strengthening ties with Chinese investors could prove highly lucrative for the London economy.


Contactless payments, mobile payments and payment cards have played a major role in Olympic spending; credit card supplier Visa has reported a 3.4% increase in domestic spending (amounting to £7.4 billion), and a spending increase of 8% by international tourists compared to this time last year. It’s been revealed that international cardholders are currently impacting the following areas of London’s economy:
• Restaurants (showing a 19.6% increase);
• Nightclubs (a 24% increase);
• Sightseeing at popular London attractions (a 12% increase).
According to Visa, the biggest spenders in London are currently from the United States, Japan, France and Italy.

Online Sales

Online auction sites have seen a surge in Olympic memorabilia, the sales of which could further influence the London economy. Items for sale range from sublime to downright strange souvenirs – for example:
• Costumes from the elaborate opening ceremony;
• The red double-decker bus from the Olympic torch tour;
• Autographed daily programmes;
• Used ticket stubs (the most popular being those for events where GB athletes won medals);
• Bottled Olympic “atmosphere” – that’s right, online shoppers can buy a bottle filled with nothing more than East London Air!
It has been reported that London received fewer Olympic tourists than expected, but already the effects of Olympic spending can be seen boosting the London economy.

  • CC image from Flickr

Nicky Warner is an experienced blogger who relies on reputable forex brokers to help her take care of her currency whenever she travels internationally. At the moment however, Nicky is loving the London vibe as Olympic fever grips the city!